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Top Best Things To Do In Moscow

As one of the most vibrant European capitals, Moscow is a powerful mix of history and edginess, full of world-famous sites and attractions. Russia’s capital has been in existence for more than 800 years and has enough to keep visitors busy for months. Here’s the ultimate first-timer’s list of things to do in Moscow, from Europe’s oldest fortress and grandiose cathedrals to lively green spaces and futuristic skyscrapers.

RED SQUARE

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The heart of Russia’s capital, Red Square is arguably Moscow’s most visited attraction. The cobblestone square is surrounded by beautiful architecture, and is the place where most of the city’s (and country’s) history unfolded. What was once a market square where traders would sell their goods is now a key location in the city, surrounded by unforgettable sites such as the Kremlin, St.Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum and other celebrated attractions.

ST BASIL’S CATHEDRAL

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Russia’s capital with the glistening rainbow domes of St Basil’s cathedral. The onion-shaped domes were designed to make the building look like the shape of a flame on a bonfire. The cathedral was commissioned in the 1500s by Ivan the Terrible and according to legend, the Tsar thought it so beautiful he ordered that the architect be blinded so that he would never surpass this creation.More Info

LENIN’S MAUSOLEUM

Lenin's Mausoleum

Moscow’s ultimate love-it-or-hate-it landmark, Lenin’s Mausoleum houses a glass sarcophagus with the embalmed body of the legendary Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin. First opened to the public in August 1924, the Mausoleum attracts around 2.5 million visitors every year, who don’t mind standing in line and going through a thorough body search to get into the illustrious building.More Info

MOSCOW KREMLIN

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The biggest active fortress in Europe, Moscow’s Kremlin offers a week’s worth of attractions. Once you get behind the 2,235 metre-long kremlin walls, there are five squares to wander around, various buildings to explore, 20 towers to learn the names of, and the world’s largest bell and cannon to see.

STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM

Historical Museum

An attraction in its own right, the State Historical Museum, sheltered in a neo-Russian style building, was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin and Aleksey Uvarov. What once was the Principal Medicine Store now houses an impressive collection, which includes relics of prehistoric tribes that once inhabited the territory of present-day Russia, the country’s largest coin collection, as well as 6th-century manuscripts and artworks collected by the Romanov dynasty among other treasures.

GUM

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GUM in Moscow, Russia | © Kuhnmi / FlickrRussia’s main department store, GUM’s stunning interior houses a variety of high-end boutiques. Built between 1890 and 1893 and known as the Upper Trading Rows until the 1920s, the legendary store is now home to over 200 boutiques selling a variety of brands: from luxurious Dior to the more affordable Zara. Even if shopping is not on your to-do list, the GUM is still worth a visit; the glass-roofed arcade faces Red Square and offers a variety of classy eateries.More Info

ARBAT STREET

An elegant historic street right in the city centre, Arbat is one of Moscow’s most touristy spots. With lots of cafés and restaurants, live music performers and caricaturists, as well as souvenir shops and tattoo salons, monuments and a theatre, Arbat draws crowds of visitors every day.

TRETYAKOV GALLERY

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Built between 1900 and 1905, Tretyakov Gallery started as the private collection of the Tretyakov brothers, who were 19th-century philanthropists. Designed by Viktor Vasnetsov, the gallery is a home to one of the largest collections of Russian art in the world. Here you can see icons including Rublev’s Trinity, and pre-revolutionary masterpieces such as Girl with Peaches by Valentin Serov, Demon by Mikhail Vrubel and Rooks have Come Backby Alexei Savrasov.More Info

PUSHKIN STATE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

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The largest foreign art museum in Moscow comprises three branches housing a collection of incredible works by masters of ancient civilisations, the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age. The main building contains masterpieces by Botticelli, Tiepolo, Veronese and Rembrandt, some of which have never been displayed before. The Gallery of European & American Art, located next door, stores an incredible collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.More Info

GORKY PARK

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Gorky Park, offers entertainment for every taste: outdoor dancing sessions, yoga and fitness classes all summer, as well as beach volleyball and ping-pong, rollerblading, skateboarding and cycling opportunities, along with segway and boat-rentals. In winter, half of the park turns into one of the city’s biggest skating rinks. The park is also home to an open-air movie theatre and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.More Info

SPARROW HILLS

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If you to take a walk from Gorky Park along the Moscow river embankment, you’ll end up in the city’s other legendary park, Sparrow Hills. Although the park doesn’t offer as many activities as its hip neighbour, here you can take a closer look at the tallest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers (the Moscow State University), admire the view from the observation deck or get a cable car ride.More Info

BOLSHOI THEATRE

The Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre | © robertnyman/FlickrOpened in 1856, the legendary Bolshoi Theatre is one of the pest places in Moscow for an evening of entertainment. The building houses two stages, hosting both ballet and opera performances.More Info

VDNKH ALL-RUSSIAN EXHIBITION CENTRE

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VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre | © Sergey Norin / FlickrThe enormous VDNKh (short for All-Russian Exhibition Centre) recently went through an extensive renovation and now looks better than ever. The centre started as the all-Soviet agricultural exhibition in 1935, and now serves as an open-air museum of Soviet architecture. With the iconic fountain at its entrance, the park complex is home to a number of museums, shopping pavilions, multiple eateries, a massive oceanarium, a zip-line, and a horse-riding rink. In winter a skating rink opens – the largest in Europe.More Info

TSARITSYNO MUSEUM-RESERVE

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Tsaritsino from helicopter | © Marina Lystseva / WikiCommonsThe former summer residence of Empress Catherine the Great was commissioned in 1775, and succumbed to deterioration during the Soviet era. The whole of Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve has been fundamentally renovated since 1980s to look even brighter than the original. With its opulently decorated buildings, gardens, meadows and forests, Tsaritsyno Park is the perfect place for a green respite in Moscow.More Info

IZMAYLOVO

Mostly known for the city’s largest and best known flea market, the district of Izmaylovo is home to a maze of shops where you can get just about anything: from handmade items to Soviet antiquities. It’s also one of Moscow’s largest green spaces, where you can hide from the city buzz.

OSTANKINO TV TOWER

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Moscow at night | © Evgeny / PixabayBook NowBuilt in 1967, Ostankino TV Tower was the tallest free-standing construction in the world at the time. Now it’s still the best observation deck with glass floor and breathtaking 360-degree views. So be sure to book one of the hourly tours and speedy elevators will take you to the height of 337 metres in no time.

 

 

10 BEST NEIGHBORHOODS IN PARIS

In this block, I will list the 10 best arrondissements (a.k.a., neighborhoods) spread throughout the wondrous City of Lights.

1.BASTILLE

Interestingly, Bastille gets its name from the popular prison which used to occupy this neighborhood. Currently, the prison is gone, and this animated part of town has become known for its bars and clubs that are popular with the youth of Paris. So, in case you are looking for an enjoyable arrondissement to stay in, then I would recommend this one. Also, it is centrally located, and the tiny cobblestone streets give you that incredible Parisian feeling!

2. LATIN QUARTER

Now, the Latin Quarter is one of my own favorite spots in Paris. It is filled with narrow streets that turn at weird angles and open onto little café-lined squares. You would absolutely love wandering around in here. It feels like you are going back a few hundred years in history. It is a pretty busy area and not as quiet as other sections of Paris. Here, you will find a lot of restaurants, bars, and jazz clubs, and you will be in the middle of all the action!

3. CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

Now, the Champs-Élysées is the most popular and upscale street in Paris. It is lined with cinema halls, cafés, luxury specialty shops, big brand-name stores, and chain restaurants. It is undoubtedly a fun place to go club-hopping at night or click pictures and shop during the day. Also, the area surrounding the street is one of the most upscale and luxurious in Paris. If you can stay off the main street, you will find it to be very sweet and silent.

4. LE MARAIS

The Le Marais has been revitalized over the last few years and is currently, a fashionable, lively area full of hip art galleries, boutiques, and cafés. And, the streets are lined with old architecture, half-hidden courtyards, and quite a few museums. You will also find some of the best restaurants and bars in town in here.. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite spots in Paris. Moreover, it is the center of Paris’s gay life, so you will find a lot of gay bars, cafés, and shops here, as well as plenty of gay-friendly restaurants.

5. MONTMARTRE

Montmartre has been serving as a home to starving artists for decades. It offers a stunning view of Paris, stylish cafés and bars, cobblestone streets, and, the only winery within the city limits. It is one of the hipper parts of Paris, even if it has obviously lost some of its old grandeur. Also, it serves as a home to several students, as the rent costs in this part of town are considerably cheaper than anywhere else.

6. ÎLE DE LA CITÉ AND ÎLE SAINT-LOUIS

Now, these two islands in the Seine are basically the historic center of Paris. The Île de la Cité serves as a home to the Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, administrative buildings, and the Conciergerie. It is super loud, too. The Île Saint-Louis, on the other hand, is a pretty quiet neighborhood for the Paris’s rich and powerful, filled with well-preserved historic homes and streets. So, in case you want luxury and quiet, I suggest that you stay here. It has fancy hotels and little else.

7. MONTPARNASSE

Now, Montparnasse is one of the modern parts of the City of Lights, with a lot of office buildings, new apartments, and a more local feel to it. It is situated near the train station of the same name. Moreover, Montparnasse has cheap accommodations and a good number of restaurants. Granted, it is not as classically pretty as other parts of town, but it’s a lot more “local” than other districts.

8. LES HALLES

Now, this chic, bustling neighborhood is centered around Paris’s former central marketplace, Les Halles. The Les Halles was torn down in 1971. That market was “the stomach of Paris” for centuries. Currently, there is an underground shopping mall, and the surrounding streets are lined with designer stores, cafés, and artisanal food shops.

9. SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés used to serve as a home to artists, writers, and thinkers. Today, it is one of the most expensive and trendy neighborhoods in Paris. And, it is also home to celebrities, with high-priced art galleries, designer shops, and fancy restaurants. It is not cheap to stay here, but it is a beautiful spot to walk through and one of my favorite spots in town. It is most likely everything that you can imagine Paris to be like.

10. BELLEVILLE

The Belleville is undoubtedly one of the grittier parts of the town, with a busy Chinatown and a whole mixing spot of different cultures. It is the center of Paris’s immigrant community. It is slowly becoming famous among the hipsters and the younger kids. Some of the best ethnic food is available here, and, there is an awesome street market, that is right next to the Le Marais, enabling you to walk over at anytime and get some fancy French food.

NINE GREAT WETLANDS FOR WATCHING WILDLIFE

In this block, I will list the nine great wetlands for watching wildlife.

1.THE PANTANAL, BRAZIL

The Pantanal wetland is the world’s largest wetland and it covers over 70,000 square miles, most of which is in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, and also spreading into neighbouring Bolivia and Paraguay. The unique patchwork of lakes, lagoons, rivers and marshes brims with tropical flora and fauna, including rare and elusive jaguars, giant river otters, marsh deer and hyacinth macaws is easily one of the world’s best-preserved wetlands, even though less than two percent of it is officially protected, and the rest is privately owned.

2. EVERGLADES, USA

The Everglades National Park is North America’s most extensive flooded grassland, covering about 2,400 square miles of south Florida. Now, most of the park is only accessible by boat and you will be able to take tours through the mangroves from Flamingo and the Gulf Coast. Moreover, experienced canoeists can spend a week on the 99-mile Wilderness Waterway, and rangers lead shorter canoes, kayaking and biking tours. You can even go off-trail hiking, known as slough slogging, to get up close to wading birds, turtles, even alligators.

3. THE CAMARGUE, FRANCE

Now, Camargue is consisting of saltwater lakes and marshland. It is also rich in wildlife and folklore. It’s a nesting ground for pink flamingos, and famous for two unique animal breeds:the Camargue bulls and the semi-wild white horses that have wandered the wetlands for thousands of years. The ornithological park north of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a nice place if you want to find flamingos, egrets and herons.

4. OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA

The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland delta. It starts in Angola’s western highlands and ends in Botswana, where it fans out into a maze of channels, lagoons and islands, covering 22,000 square miles in wetter years. Also, one- third of it lies within the Moremi Game Reserve, while the rest is divided into private concessions. The delta attracts a vast variety of animals, including elephants and lions. Also, one of the best ways to explore it is from a low-slung mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, and a mobile camping safari is usually a more wallet-friendly option than a lodge.

5. WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS, UK

The Walthamstow wetlands are a haven for water birds, like the gadwall and shoveler. It is a stopover for migrating birds, such as, lapwings and sandpipers, and a breeding ground for kingfishers, too. This amazing site houses 13 miles of footpath and cycle track, a visitor centre and a cafe with a unique tower that serves as a house for nesting swifts and roosting bats, and a viewing platform on top of the Grade II-listed Coppermill Tower with views over the beautiful London.

6. KAKADU, AUSTRALIA

Now, one of the most popular landmarks of the huge Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory is the Yellow Water Billabong. This wetland is a part of the South Alligator River floodplain, and is one of the best places to take in the country’s wildlife in its natural habitat. You can take a short Yellow Water Cruise that departs daily from Jabiru to spot saltwater crocodiles, sea eagles, whistling ducks and buffalo. Also, you can visit Kakadu as part of the 456-mile Nature’s Way drive, which starts in Darwin and go through the wetlands, gorges and waterfalls across this land, that is so rich in aboriginal culture.

7. DANUBE DELTA, ROMANIA

Now, as we know, Europe’s second largest delta is created by the mighty River Danube, which flows about 1,800 miles from Black Forest of Germany to Romania, where it mixes into the Black Sea. This delta’s 2,200 square miles serves as a host to about 300 species of endemic and migratory birds, including white pelicans, pygmy cormorants and the red-breasted geese. Over 3,400 animal species can also be found here, as well as 1,700 plant species. And, the best way to experience this Danube delta is by a boat, whether on a passenger ferry, an organised excursion or you can also hire your own canoe.

8. BANGWEULU WETLANDS, ZAMBIA

The Bangweulu wetlands is a community-owned and protected wetland in northeastern Zambia, housing species, like the endangered black lechwe, a water-loving antelope. And its main attraction is its amazing birdlife; more than 430 species, including geese, pelicans, spoonbills, storks, herons, ibises and cranes. The star of the show is undoubtedly the stunning shoebill, which is a huge, prehistoric-looking bird with a striking similarity to the dodo, and Bangweulu is one of its last remaining breeding sites. Interestingly, since the NGO African Parks took over the wetlands in 2008, poaching has significantly decreased and wildlife numbers are slightly recovering.

9. KERALA BACKWATERS, INDIA

Now, the Kerala backwaters are a stretch of lakes and lagoons, linked by channels and fed by about 40 rivers, stretching for more than 900 kilometres. When the fresh water meets the Arabian Sea, it creates an ecosystem that provides for an amazing natural habitat for several unique species of aquatic life, including crabs, frogs and birds. The locals have used the scenic, palm-fringed waterways for centuries, for fishing, agriculture and transporting rice and spices. These waters also attract travelers, who cruise on kettuvallams, that are traditional rice boats turned into floating hotels, for a little taste of the rural Keralan life.

WORLD’S MOST INCREDIBLE RUINS YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF

Here I will list the less popular ruins that are incredibly beautiful.

1.KALEKÖY , TURKEY

Kaleköy is one of the Mediterranean’s truly delightful spots. It also serves as a home to the ruins of the ancient Simena and a brilliant Crusader fortress standing above the hamlet looking out to sea. Inside the beautiful fortress, the ancient world’s tiniest theater is cut into a rock, and nearby you will find ruins of many amazing temples and public baths. Moreover, from the top, you may look down upon a field of Lycian tombs, and the old city walls are also visible on the edges.

2. CHOQUEQUIRAO, PERU

The hike to Choquequirao is absolutely spectacular! The remote ruins are often defined as a mini- Machu Pichhu. More interestingly, archaeologists have only uncovered about 30% of it from the jungle. Not so surprisingly, these ruins are visited by only about a dozen visitors each day. They are not very popular and this would be the best time to go so as to avoid the crowd.

3. JERASH, JORDAN

Jerash is the largest and most interesting Roman site in Jordan. Jerash’s incredible ceremonial gates, colonnaded avenues, impressive temples and theatres all say a lot about the time when this was an important imperial centre. It is so striking, that even the most casual fan of archaeology will enjoy a half-day at the site. I would suggest you bring a hat and sunscreen in the warmer months, as the exposed ruins can get very hot to explore.

4. DELOS, GREECE

Now, Delos is one of the most important mythological, archaeological and historical sites in Greece. It is the mythical birthplace of Apollo and Athens. In the ancient times, Delos used to be a bustling commercial center and shrine. Delos used to be a major religious center and port during the 1st millennium B.C. The island’s ruins comprise of Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics and the iconic Terrace of the Lions statues.

5. KOH KER, CAMBODIA

The Koh Ker is one of Cambodia’s most remote and inaccessible temple complexes. There are about 42 structures in Koh Ker and there are not many archaelogical records of this place, for which it remains an enigma. It was built around the 10th century.

6. PULA, CROATIA

Pula houses the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. Pula used to be an important provincial centre during the later period of the Roman empire and its legacy of public buildings from that time is among the most impressive buildings in all of Europe. Now, the most interesting part of this place is the Arena, that was constructed between 27 BC-68 AD, and is the only Roman amphitheatre in the world with a full circle wall and one of Croatia’s architectural gems.

7. TONINÁ , MEXICO

Now, Toniná is a less popular pre-Columbian archaeological site and the ruined city of the Maya civilization. It is one of the best in the Mexican state of Chiapas. There are striking temples, statues, impressive stuccos and more in this ancient acropolis.

8. TUNIS, TUNISIA

Now, Tunis has some awesome Roman ruins. The city of Carthage used to be the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization. Carthage is the place where once the Zaphouan Aqueduct once filled the Antoine Baths. The Bardo Museum has some impressive mosaics that visitors can check out.

9. AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND

Ayatthuya was once one of the world’s greatest capitals. It used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. There are three striking stupas at Wat Phra Si Sanphet that are absolutely worth checking out. Also, the awesome crypt at Wat Ratchaburana is worth a visit.